Rugby Championship: Australia notches first win, while New Zealand rolls on

Story highlights

  • Wallabies win first match of tournament
  • Come from behind to beat South Africa
  • New Zealand remain unbeaten, South Africa in second place
  • Argentina and Australia both tied at 1-2

(CNN)Australia notched its first win in the Rugby Championship series, beating South Africa 23-17 in Brisbane on the back of inspired play from fly-half Bernard Foley.

The Wallabies started sluggishly, going down 3-14 before Foley took over the match. He finished with one try, two conversions and three penalties to lift Australia to victory.
    After three rounds of play, the Wallabies are tied with Argentina for last place in the four-team annual southern hemisphere tournament, with three rounds to go. The hosts, who also happened to be defending champions, were defeated twice by New Zealand in the previous rounds.
    "It's always a tough game against the Springboks, we knew that and they played well tonight, and we're very happy to win," said Aussie captain Stephen Moore, who was left bloodied in the second half. "We're happy to win after however many losses in a row, it feels good."
    In the previous fixture played in Hamilton, New Zealand pulled ahead in the second half to dominate Argentina with a 57-22 win.
    Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty scored two tries each for the All Blacks while Beauden Barrett nailed all six conversions.
    "We had to work really hard for it tonight. We certainly came out with some intent, and they matched it. And that's exactly what you want in games like this," New Zealand skipper Keiran Reid said after the match.
    Argentina kept the game competitive going into halftime, as Nicolas Sanchez converted a penalty to cut the All Blacks' lead to 24-19. But the Pumas managed only three more points in the second half.
    "It was a tough game, we made a good first half, and maybe start of the second," said Argentina's captain Martin Landajo. "It was a bit of a lie, the result, but they really deserved the win so I congratulate them."
    "We need to do 80 minutes, but we are doing maybe 50 or 60 minutes of great rugby," he added. "It's not enough, so maybe we have to change something."